Public to have their say on maritime red tape –

Public to have their say on maritime red tape Published:  11 November, 2011

Life could be about to get easier for shipping companies, port authorities, ferry operators and those who simply use our seas for pleasure after Shipping Minister Mike Penning began work that could see Maritime red tape slashed.

Over two hundred shipping, maritime and ports regulations have been placed on the Red Tape Challenge website – a Government-wide site aimed at reducing bureaucracy – for four weeks. The public and wider maritime industry are being asked whether they think that a regulation is well designed and provides vital protections, or is badly designed, badly implemented or simply a bad idea.

Regulations under the spotlight will include those instances where the UK has gone beyond the minimum required by EU or international legislation. The exercise also presents an opportunity to see if some of the UK’s more historic maritime legislation is still fit for purpose and suited to today’s maritime needs.

Areas for deregulatory consideration include:

* Removing unnecessary aviation-related legislation that historically has applied to hovercraft

* Removing the requirement whereby the master of certain British ships serving a strategic function has to be a Commonwealth or EEA national or nationals of NATO countries

* Assess the requirement for certain ships to weigh road vehicles and cargo, a practice that does not apply to vessels in foreign ports returning to the UK

* Removing antiquated reporting requirements

Shipping Minister Mike Penning said: “This is a chance for everyone to have their say, whether they own a dozen oil tankers, a little motor boat or are just armchair mariners. We are determined to eliminate badly thought out and obsolete regulations.

“There is no getting away from the fact that good quality regulation can add real value to the competitiveness of the maritime industry while balancing genuine environmental, safety and security concerns. However, by reducing red tape we can help free businesses to be more competitive, create jobs and just make things less complicated for people.”

Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said: “Since the Red Tape Challenge was launched in April, we have received more than 25,000 comments and proposals made by the public and businesses. Already this has resulted in plans for significant changes to legislation – we have looked at 378 pieces of regulation and announced plans to remove or simplify 220 of these.

“I’m delighted that more than two hundred shipping, maritime and ports regulations have been placed on the Red Tape Challenge website. Reducing regulation for Britain’s maritime industry can only help exports and growth.”

The Government has recruited experienced ‘sector champions’ who will be providing expert knowledge during the Red Tape Challenge based on the issues they faced in their fields. The sector champions are:

* Mark Brownrigg, Director-General, The Chamber of Shipping

* David Whitehead, Director, British Ports Association

* Gus Lewis, Legal and Government Affairs Manager, Royal Yachting Association

Mark Brownrigg, Director-General at Chamber of Shipping, said: “Shipping is a highly regulated industry – world-wide, in Europe and nationally. We therefore need regulation in order to carry out our business and to demonstrate that the UK is among the world leaders. The Red Tape Challenge provides a great opportunity to weed out out-dated regulations and the unwarranted bureaucracy that they entail, and to review our existing regulations to make them clear and fit for purpose.”

Gus Lewis, Legal and Government Affairs Manager at the Royal Yachting Association said: “The RYA believes that any legislation or regulation should be transparent, accountable, proportionate and consistent and only targeted at cases where sound risk and evidence analysis demonstrates that such action is needed. This process gives us a unique opportunity to challenge those regulations that do not satisfy these criteria.”

David Whitehead, Director of British Ports Association said: “Ports legislation comes at us from all directions. Planning, licensing, the environment, navigational safety and security are just some of the sources of the rules and regulations which apply to us. The Red Tape Challenge is a terrific opportunity to look at how we might prune, consolidate, simplify, and even convert into codes of practice this array of maritime legislation.”

The overall aim of the Red Tape Challenge is to remove barriers to economic growth and increase individual freedoms. The presumption is that regulations will go, unless their retention can be justified.